Elementary: Great For All

, Elementary: Trends Younger

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker

Shelley Johannes






“There are infinite upsides to being yourself.” 

It’s just a fact: Beatrice Zinker does her best thinking upside down.  

She also does puzzles without looking at the box top, thinks dessert should be eaten first, and knows that Lenny Santos will always be her best friend. 

Even though she comes from a right-side-up family that likes “boxes and boundaries,” Beatrice can’t help but gravitate toward the “MAYBES, WHAT-IFS, and COULD-BES” of life. When her second grade teacher gives her a special award for being the Best Upside Down Thinker, Beatrice tells Lenny, “I’m finally free to be me.” Then third grade starts… 

“The girl staring back at Beatrice was not wearing a ninja suit. She was not, in fact, wearing a single item of black clothing. She wasn’t even wearing jeans and a superhero T-shirt like Lenny usually wore.”  

Lenny seems to feel “free to be” as well. She shows up with “curling-iron curled hair” and looks like she’s spent a lot of time in front of the mirror with her mother. Lenny is exploring how to fit in with a right-side-up group at school, leaving Beatrice without the cofounder of their top-secret plan dubbed Operation Upside. 

“After a whole summer of preparation, and eighty-seven minutes of third-grade desperation, everything was falling apart.”  

From a failed secret meeting to a bloody-nose visit to the nurse’s office, Beatrice can’t seem to stay on the upside of things. But she is not a kid who gives up easily. Resourceful and creative, Beatrice forges on with her Operation Upside plans, determined to save the mission and mend things with Lenny. Along the way, she learns a thing or two about compromise, resilience, and celebrating everyone’s individuality, even if it looks different than hers. 

“Just because I’m upside down doesn’t mean everyone has to be. Isn’t that the whole point?” 

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker is full of belly-laugh humor and whimsical illustrations that will delight even your youngest listeners. And there is more than just fun in this briskly-paced book. Beatrice will help classrooms and families have important conversations about seeing things from different perspectives and staying true to yourself.